US: Alabama man stabs ′Baby Trump′ protest balloon | News | DW | 10.11.2019
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US: Alabama man stabs 'Baby Trump' protest balloon

The 'Baby Trump' blimp was made famous by protesters in London in 2018. Organizers took it to Alabama ahead of Trump's attendance at a college football game, but an angry passerby stabbed it in the back.

A man in the US state of Alabama used a knife to slash and deflate a large "Baby Trump" protest balloon on Saturday, as US President Donald Trump visited the state.

The "Baby Trump" balloon gained notoriety when it first appeared as a blimp over London in 2018, forming part of large protests against the US president's visit to the city.

Towering at 20 feet (6.1 meters) tall, the balloon features an orange baby with Trump's signature haircut, with an angry look on his face, wearing diapers and holding a cellphone, in an allusion to the president's relentless use of Twitter.

The balloon had been brought to the city of Tuscaloosa to protest Trump's appearance at the college football game between the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University.

Robert Kennedy, the balloon's "baby sitter" who brought it to Tuscaloosa, said passersby had mixed reactions to the balloon prior to the attack. Some shouted "Trump 2020," in reference to the president's reelection hopes, while others took selfies with it.

But one man, seemingly upset by the balloon, took matters into his own hands and stabbed it in the back, causing it to slowly deflate. He ran from the scene but was quickly caught by police officers.

Kennedy said it was the first time he had seen someone attack the protest balloon. "It is rare to get that kind of anger," he told AP.

Tuscaloosa police released a statement confirming that 32-year-old Hoyt Deau Hutchinson had been arrested and charged with first-degree criminal mischief for the act.

Alabama news station ABC 33/40 reported that the man screamed at the volunteers as police took him away.

Organizers told ABC 33/40 they were unconcerned by the vandalism: "We have 6 [Baby Trump balloons] and will persist to resist the Liar-in-Chief."

Trump's appearance at the Alabama game comes after the president received negative reactions from two separate sporting events, a World Series game in Washington, DC and a UFC fight in New York City.

At both events, the president was loudly booed when he was announced. But in Alabama, a southern state that Trump won in 2016 by over 30 points, he faced a warmer and more welcoming crowd.

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